A model law fusing incapacity and mental health legislation

George Szmukler, Rowena Daw, John Dawson


An outline for a model law is presented here that would govern the non-consensual treatment of people who lack the capacity (or competence) to consent due to mental impairment, whether this is due to ‘mental disorder’ or ‘psychiatric disorder’ as conventionally conceived, or due to a ‘physical disorder’. Our aim in drafting this model law is to give coherent and practical expression to the case, previously made by two of the current authors, that separate legislation authorising the civil commitment of ‘mentally disordered’ persons is unnecessary, and discriminatory, and should be replaced by new, comprehensive legislation that would govern the non-consensual treatment of both ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ conditions. This new scheme – which we have described as the ‘fusion’ proposal – would be based squarely on incapacity principles: that is, on the impaired capacity of a person to make decisions about treatment, from whatever cause – whether this is due to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, a learning disability, a confusional state due to infection, a cerebrovascular accident, a head injury, or any other mental impairment.

A model statute of this kind, drafted largely by Rowena Daw, is presented here in skeleton form.




Full Text:

PDF Word

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19164/ijmhcl.v0i20.232


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 George Szmukler, Rowena Daw, John Dawson

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.